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150 Years Ago: Thursday, July 11, 1861

Though a day behind schedule, U.S. Brigadier General William Rosecrans and his men engage Confederate troops in western Virginia led by C.S.A. Brigadier General Robert Garnett. The Battle of Rich Mountain engages the Confederates while they are split in two. In terms of manpower it is not a fair battle, with 2,000 Union troops against 310 Rebels. The Confederate forces fight hard and hold off the Union for more than two hours at the Rich Mountain pass with only a single cannon. But in the end the Union is victorious and the Confederates retreat; Union forces will follow them in the upcoming days.

The battle is small, but it successfully pushes Confederates from the B&O Railroad lines and disrupts Confederate recruiting in an area that has been pro-Union and anti-secession. Though Rosecrans had done the planning and execution for the attack, it was overseen by Major General George B. McClellan, who takes full credit for its success. McClellan does not give any credit to Rosecrans in his official report.

John Singleton Mosby had been against secession, but had enlisted in the Washington Mounted Rifles when Virginia left the Union. Today Mosby has his first encounter with Federal cavalry just south of Martinsburg, Virginia. His patrol captures two Union soldiers and then pushes the others to Martinsburg.

In Washington City, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary go to Camp Clark to review the troops. There are rumors in the camp that the army might be moving soon, but no one knows for certain if this is true.

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